Protecting plants: careful!


The Hopeful Herbalist reminded me today that tending a decent sized garden is time consuming: most large, contemporary gardens are cared for by far fewer gardeners than would have been the case in the past. That’s a real challenge, especially as gardening the right way often takes a little more time. How tempting it must be to cut corners!  

Imagine the annual labour of love needed to make sure the plants in the large, classic pots at Gresgarth Hall will survive the winter and to keep any tempting bulbs in the pots dotted around the garden safe from hungry, marauding squirrels.

Pots wrapped up in burlap

This snuggly burlapped pot was carefully prepared for almost any kind of onslaught nature is likely to throw at a garden in North West England. It’s clearly treasured in a way perhaps only a gardener would understand. I wondered if it was a special pot and, if so, what the decoration might be, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was just a plain pot that won’t withstand freezing.

Pots covered in wire mesh to protect bulbs

I liked the way the mesh on these pots had been neatly pinned in place by hooped wire and how some overseeing eye seemed to be gradually loosening off the mesh to let the plants develop.

Protecting bulbs with wire mesh

These tulips weren’t far from breaking free and being left to fend for themselves.

The clocks went back this weekend. There’s a chill in the air and we’ll soon need to be thinking about winter protection here in England. I feel slightly ashamed to confess that my pots are all left to their own devices. I’d be interested to know whether you’re on the careful or reckless end of the scale. Do you carry out any annual rituals to help ready your own garden for colder weather?

I’m sharing this as a second submission for the weekly photo challenge: careful. Here’s my first, if you missed it.

30 Replies to “Protecting plants: careful!”

  1. I think u hit the nail on the head when you said gardening is time consuming. Tasks get prioritised and this one often gets missed. I might not have the problem of cold weather here but there are plenty of other tasks that get missed sometimes.

  2. That is a really neat solution. So much better than having the bubble wrap exposed as I was inclined to do. These days though the really vulnerable pots get heaved into the greenhouse and the rest fends for itself!

  3. As I have next to none storage space inside fit for plants (too warm, too dark) I also have no potted plants, and none, that can’t stand winters. Except for three window boxes, which get emptied out in autumn. But I do heap dead leaves and earth around cold-sensitive plants, to give them some shelter. Just in case, as there is an off-chance, we get Siberian conditions here….

    1. It’s interesting to hear how people make different plans. I’ve heard of Russian gardeners taking climbers down from the walls and covering them with leaves etc.

  4. I loved this post. And the pots all looked so cosy and cared for. It is so hard to keep on top of everything. My garden is large and although I plant up tubs with Tulips I have never ever protected them. This year I have painted all my wooden garden furniture and have sore hands to prove it. I have ordered covers for them all to protect them as I just can not face painting them again for a few years! 🙂

          1. I am a little stressed about it. I have a big garden and as I live alone I have no back up team. It is certainly a challenge! 🙂

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